Less is more when it comes to The Cabin in the Woods. Knowing full well that the film was exploding with twists, I separated myself from it for the better part of two weeks. I certainly read a handful of reviews, but only skimmed upon the abstracts they offered to avoid spoilers. Based on the fact that the film is far more enjoyable when nothing is known about the its premise, this review will be as discrete as possible. What I will tell you is this: The Cabin in the Woods is a gore-filled blast that expands the possibilities of horror films, much like what Scream did back in 1996. Featuring a meta narrative that deconstructs the horror films we lean on to fulfill our craving for blood and heart palpitations, The Cabin in the Woods magically fuses horror and humor together in a way that is at once engaging and disarming. The team behind this hybrid of a creature is Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. Considering Whedon’s playful nature with the conventional, Cabin’s… ingenious plot should come as no surprise. What’s surprising is Goddard’s ability behind the camera to draw thrills out of the trippy premise and affectionately pay homage to the horror films that paved his film’s way.
With each laugh and each drip of blood, Goddard has us by the throat as dueling plot threads vie for our emotional attachment. Together, Goddard and Whedon actively mold the archetypes that transfix the horror genre into something new. From the overzealous jock character to the mental ineptitude of all horror characters, Whedon and Goddard deconstruct the expectations of a horror film and create new standards for the genre moving forward. What’s most important about Cabin… though, outside of the entertainment factor, is it ends up reflecting on us as filmgoers. More specifically, it’s reflective of our penchant for stock horror. We’ve come to accept that studios and filmmakers are shoving the same premises, characters and jump scares down our throats. The sad thing is that we accept the regurgitated schlock, willingly swallowing it and paying for the bad after taste. Thankfully, The Cabin in the Woods makes a concerted effort to celebrate the beauty of horror and to atone for its genre’s stale tendencies. It’s a bloody, delicious treat.